Purdue too tough, 51-41
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Entering Saturday’s game, Marshall knew Purdue was a tough enough football opponent.
Add that to the Thundering Herd’s own mistakes, and it was too much to overcome.
Purdue took a 51-41 victory Saturday, holding off a Marshall comeback effort, before 45,481 spectators at Ross-Ade Stadium.
After trailing by 28 at halftime, Marshall climbed within 45-35 on a 1-yard touchdown reception by Gator Hoskins from Rakeem Cato with 12:53 left to play.
However, Purdue followed with a 13-play, 78-yard scoring march of its own capped by Gary Bush’s 7-yard touchdown catch from Caleb TerBush — their third scoring connection of the day.
Marshall’s Jeremiah Taylor blocked the extra point attempt, leaving it a two-possession game.
The block came into play when Cato hooked up with Craig Wilkins for a 15-yard score. However, the two-point conversion pass failed and Purdue recovered the onside kick to essentially salt the game away.
Tommy Shuler set the Marshall record for receptions in a game. He caught 19 passes for 200 yards. The 19 passes are the most in an FBS contest this season.
Marshall found itself facing a 42-14 deficit at halftime after Purdue returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns during an error-prone second quarter for the Herd.
Cato threw three interceptions in the second quarter, starting with a pass off the hands of wide receiver Aaron Dobson and into the arms of Antoine Lewis. Five plays later, the Boilermakers caught Marshall in a blitz and TerBush connected with Bush on a 35-yard score to make it 28-14.
On the Herd’s next drive, Cato delivered a slant behind intended target Tommy Shuler, who never saw the pass coming, and Ricardo Allen returned it 39 yards for a score.
The Herd regrouped and drove down the field, but Cato stared down Davonte Allen and Josh Johnson jumped the route, returning the interception 74 yards for a score to make it a 28-point game.
It was a five-minute stretch that turned a close game into a blowout at the break.
That five-minute stretch negated a strong showing for the Herd in the game’s early parts.
Cato started the game connecting on 17 of his first 19 passes for 153 yards and two scores while knotting the game, 14-14, on a 12-yard touchdown pass to Hoskins.
Antavious Wilson caught a 4-yard pass from Cato to open the Herd’s scoring after Bush and TerBush had connected on their first score of the game — a 9-yard pass on the Boilermakers’ first possession.
PUR: Gary Bush 9-yard TD pass from Caleb TerBush (Paul Griggs kick), 9:26. PUR 7, MU 0.
MU: Antavkous Wilson 4-yard TD pass from Rakeem Cato (Justin Haig kick), 6:27. MU 7, PUR 7.
PUR: Antavian Edison 41-yard TD pass from Caleb TerBush (Paul Griggs kick), 5:45. PUR 14, MU 7.
MU: Gator Hoskins 12-yard TD pass from Rakeem Cato (Justin Haig kick), 14:13. MU 14, PUR `14.
PUR: Akeem Shavers 2-yard TD run (Paul Griggs kick), 9:30. PUR 21, MU 14.
PUR: O.J. Ross 35-yard TD pass from Caleb TerBush (Paul Griggs kick), 7:26. PUR 28, MU 14.
PUR: Ricardo Allen 40-yard interception return TD (Paul Griggs kick), 6:16. PUR 35, MU 14.
PUR: Josh Johnson 76-yard interception return TD (Paul Griggs kick), 4:34. PUR 42, MU 14.
MU: Gator Hoskins 28-yard TD pass from Rakeem Cato (Justin Haig kick), 10:03. PUR 42, MU 21.
MU: Derek Mitchell 29-yard blocked punt return TD (Justin Haig kick), 6:09. PUR 42, MU 28.
PUR: Paul Griggs 34-yard FG, :29. PUR 45, MU 28.
MU: Gator Hoskins 1-yard TD pass from Rakeem Cato (Justin Haig), 12:53. PUR 45, MU 35.
PUR: Gary Bush 6-yard TD pass from Caleb TerBush (kick blocked), 6:38. PUR 51, MU 35.
MU: Craig Wilkins 15-yard TD pass from Rakeem Cato (2-point conversion failed, 3:46. PUR 51, MU 41.